Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gun registry: Vic Toews orders RCMP to flag efforts to track long-gun sales

I guess defiant provincial firearms officers who engage in what he calls "unauthorized data collection" should do other things like trying to find marijuana plants -- after all, cannabis is far more dangerous than, say, long-guns... .

OTTAWA—The federal public safety minister has fired off a rocket to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, ordering him to flag any efforts by provinces to track long-gun sales.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the top Mountie, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews threatened unspecified "legislative and regulatory measures" against defiant provincial firearms officers who engage in what he calls "unauthorized data collection."

Although the RCMP's operations are supposed to be at arms-length from the public safety minister's office, Toews clearly instructs Paulson in writing about what he expects of the RCMP.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if the information sharing with the US that's part of the "beyond the border" deal signed last year includes firearms data and what information was shared if so.

Privacy legislation didn't stop the Federal government from giving away personal private data on Canadian airplane passengers even when the planes went nowhere near the US.

Also, why should anyone in another province care about the provincial government tracking firearms sales in Quebec?

sassy said...

What we really need right now is a "Dangerous to Canada" registry. First on the list - Harper and his cabinet, followed by voters who drink their koolaid.

tono-bungay said...

Threatening legislative measures means that the minister thinks it is legal. By cutting the "wasteful and inefficient" registry, the federal government is forcing province to use more expensive and less efficient means to enforce licensing rules, like making sure retailers keep records to check whether they are selling firearms only to people with a licence.

The Mound of Sound said...

The Tories have perverted the RCMP to their service going back to Zaccardelli's stunt, smearing Ralph Goodale, in mid-election to skew the win for Harper. Not for nothing did Zaccardelli absolutely refuse to answer for his actions afterward. Politicizing the national police force is second-nature to Harper's regime. Through the use of gagging and message control they've transformed both the public service and the armed forces into political agencies of the PMO.

I have no doubt at all that Toews is using the RCMP in this case to intimidate lawful provincial powers he finds distasteful from being exercised. Toews and his master are both cut from the same cloth - they're thugs.

The Rat said...


Firearms licensing in Canada needs to go

By Ryan Shervill

Firearms licensing as we now know it in Canada needs to go. I’m sure that statement will set off alarm bells from coast to coast...

...The key issue that needs to be understood is the difference between licensing and certification. In the days before Possession and Acquisition Licences, or PALs, we had a card known as the Firearms Acquisition Certificate, which allowed people to purchase firearms. Known as an FAC, it was proof you’d undergone a criminal background check, had an interview with a police officer and there was no reason you shouldn’t own a firearm. This was a form of certification, and the only people who had to worry were criminals and those otherwise prohibited from owning firearms.

With the implementation of Bill C-68 and the PAL system starting in 1995, however, all that changed. What was sold to gun owners as simply “a new card” was actually a major shift in how firearms laws worked. With Bill C-68, every gun owner in the country effectively became a criminal under the Criminal Code—unless, that is, the gun owner completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, was vetted by police and obtained a PAL, which essentially gave the holder temporary permission to break the law.

The problem here is that every gun owner in the country is now one paperwork error away from a criminal charge of unauthorized possession of a firearm. If you forget to renew your licence, you now stand to face the same charges—and penalties—as the gangbanger caught with an illegal handgun in his waistband. Mere ownership of a firearm by an otherwise law-abiding Canadian should not constitute a criminal act, but under our current licensing laws, it very much does.

Also contrary to all common sense, PALs expire every five years. You only have to pass the safety course once in your life to maintain your PAL, so what’s the purpose of renewing every five years? I’ve never received a good answer to that question. It seems to me it’s a way to catch people out and revoke their right to own firearms.

Even more disturbing is the potential for abuse. What if a future anti-gun government decided to implement a prohibitively expensive fee to renew a PAL? What if it just decided not to renew them at all? That would be a great way to eliminate gun ownership in this country, and based on what I’ve heard some politicians say about firearms, neither scenario is far-fetched.

That said, not all parts of the PAL system are bad. The licensing regime brought in mandatory safety training and testing for everyone, an element that didn’t exist with the FAC. I believe effective safety testing is a good thing, and that the majority of the firearms community would agree that, at the very least, it doesn’t hurt.

Contrary to what some may warn, the shooting community is not out to remove all gun control to allow anyone to buy a firearm as easily as buying a pack of gum. No, what we’re looking for is a common-sense approach to gun control that incorporates the positive aspects of both certification and safety while removing the threat of criminal prosecution simply because you choose to own a firearm.

In a perfect world, we’d see a return to an FAC-type system, with the added mandatory requirement for safety certification. Firearms ownership would be decriminalized, certification would be valid for life unless there was a reason to have it revoked, and the government would only track those who are prohibited from owning firearms, not legitimate gun owners. That’s what I mean when I say firearms licensing must go.

This article was originally published on May 9, 2012